I need to draw your attention to something. It is what I call a “life skill” when I teach about wine. That is the wines of Beaujolais. I go into some pretty explicit details in Meet My Sexy Beau, but we need a reminder. I need a reminder because after I told you to seek them out I went right back to the Pinot Noir that is so plentiful in Willamette Valley. That is until lunch the other day at Andina in Portland where I ordered the 2013 Moillard-Grivot Fleurie.
Now when I say wines of Beaujolais, I don’t many just any wine. Nouveau can be hit or miss. Here is an excerpt from my last Nouveau tasting note “This bottle is going down the drain. I have had better jug wine. I want my $12 back!!!”
Beaujolais Villages is a step up. What I want you to look for is Beaujolais from one of the 10 “crus” St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-a-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly.
They probably won’t say “Beaujolais” on the label so learn those 10 place names. Put them in your phone. They are versatile for pairing – think red wine you can even pair with fish. Many are age worthy. They are not expensive – usually $20 or less.
When I tasted this wine from Fleurie I had to dig out a scrap piece of paper to take a note and ask for the sommelier’s email to find out where I could buy some. Violets, cardamon, black pepper, bramble fruit, fresh plum, fantastic depth, texture and finish. I lost the scrap piece of paper. It was so good I can write that note 2 weeks later from memory. It was so good that I didn’t even drink it with the meal. I saved it for the end so nothing would alter the flavors.
But while we are talking about the meal, for local folks who haven’t eaten at Andina, put it on your list. It is a family operated restaurant with a story, which you know I love. The Peruvian food is wonderful. But here is the stand out. Three people who were not our servers visited the table to make sure we were having a good experience. One of them was owner Doris Rodriguez de Platt, who wished Mark a Happy Birthday or Feliz cumpleaños!
It reminded me of other first generation ethnic restaurants I have loved, all with owners who visited the tables. I am told my Grandfather could hardly find time to run his restaurant because everyone wanted him table side.
We finished the day with a beautiful stroll through Portland’s International Rose Test Garden. Another can’t miss for local folks or summer visitors, the garden also has an interesting backstory. It was established as a safe haven for European roses during WW1 and serves as a testing and research garden today. Four 1/2 acres of fragrance, color, and bloom.
If anyone’s is wondering, I would rather have a dozen Fleurie than a dozen flowers.